Can Technology and Family Coexist?
Technology is All Around Us
“Technology and family”, now there are two words your grandparents would never have used together. Just as the latest technology edged its way into our work, shopping, research and banking, it was only a matter of time before it showed up in our homes. Using the phrase “family technology” or “home technology” in today’s world will simply make us think of gaming consoles, gaming online, computer software that both educates and entertains our families making school fun with cool math games, reading with our tablet computers, connecting our mobiles devices to our home computers, streaming movies and securing our homes with the latest technologically advanced home security systems.
Technology and Family
Will technology drive a wedge in the family structure or help hold it together? I remember the first time I experienced the video game “Pong” at my cousin’s house when I was about 6 years old. “Wow, that’s their TV set and they’re playing a game on it!” I thought. From then on I was hooked, a lover of gaming and technology in general. Now a college IT instructor, digital audio producer, and father of a little girl, I still connect my technology to my TV – but it’s come a long way since Pong. I use one of my computers as a family PC, and share content from a single hard drive to our TV, Playstation, net book, and smart phones. We can view HD movies, home videos, photos and more on our TV or computers. Then of course there’s the family office technology, another way advancement has made its way into our new “smart homes”.
Of course there’s also the internet, the modern day substitute (though not a complete replacement) for catalogs, libraries, phone books, newspapers, music stores, file storage (check out Google's new cloud storage here) and so very much more. But how do we sort through this incredibly crowded resource to find what we need in a family environment while keeping our children from accidently going to the “wrong” web page, clicking an inappropriate link, or walking down that dangerous road in cyberspace? Thankfully, there are plenty of options out there for parents to choose from when it comes to internet safety. While it’s a wise choice to take full advantage of these software products and features, educating our children about the internet and how to make the right choices when using it is still of great importance. They may be searching for the latest cool math game but who can say for sure what they’ll find? Similar to preparing a child for the dangers of the real world, preparing a child for the unexpected pop up or link on the internet can help them to avoid dangers in the cyber world.
Finding the Balance
When using technology in our homes and integrating it into our family’s everyday living, it can help to consider the balance between entertainment and productivity. We can have a fun filled hour of gaming or watching streaming movies inside on a rainy day and still use the internet to find a great resource for our children’s homework assignment. Grandma and Grandpa can now connect with their extended families all over the world and sleep soundly at night, knowing that the technology of their home security system will help keep them safe. With the proper guidelines in place, education on usage, proper monitoring of our children when using technology, and good old fashion common sense, technology and family can work together and provide us with more options for productivity. There really is no end in sight when it comes to future technology in our homes, and we’ve only just opened to the door to welcome it inside.